Hard to say what Raffi will or could do to save Armenia from his mobocracy. He's like a cat out on a limb, with nowhere to go and the fire companies, local or international, don't seem ready to send a ladder truck to rescue him.
He could try to
do what he should have done to begin with and accept the results and
acknowledge the failure of his organization to collect enough evidence
to prove their wild allegations that he "won." Now the maximalists
seem to driving him and the process. It is unclear to what extent he is
in control. At some point, the mob dynamic of takes on a life of its
own. Demands which were original means to an end become ends in
He needs to resist the throwing the baby out with
the bath water, that is, resist the nihilistic impulse of all mobs to
consider everything "futile." He can save face by saying that although
he may not have been able to prove he won, he did gather a respectable
number of votes. He can thank those who voted for him. He can promise
that he will continue to speak out for them in the name of the common
good. Now that common good compels us to unite as a nation and work
constructively together. He can clarify that the "victory" was in
gathering a respectable opposition vote and giving them the opportunity
to be heard. He should wish Sargsyan a productive term, urge him to
listen to all the people, including and especially those that voted for
Raffi and have taken to the streets, and pledge to work with him and all
others that share the vision of a safe, just Armenia. The choice is
not between safe and just. It must be just in order for it to be safe,
and vice versa.
He should urge people to put aside their
rancor and ambitions and return to the hard work of building a country.
This is not a football match. It is a republic. The game is not
over. It is on-going. Citizens and political leaders do not need
positions to contribute to the process or to be heard. Vigilance is
the price of democracy. Participate, exercise your rights, express
your views, but always keep the good of the nation above personal
interests or grudges.
The solution is within reach, if there is
the will. The question is whether Raffi has moral fiber to do the
right thing for the nation.
He should do it before there is blood
on the streets - blood changes everything - martyrs to the cause,
personal vendettas, never forget, etc.
Later, when things settle,
he can "explain" his "street strategy." It was a delay tactic and
public relations ploy. He wanted to amplify the voice of the opposition
by dragging it out for a week. He also needed time to gather or
produce arguments to support his allegation that he won. Had he
conceded on the day after the elections, his "victory" for the
opposition, might not have been taken seriously, but he and his team
wanted to assure that the voice of the discontent registered with the
That said, these post-elections antics are not
likely to have any lasting impact for the purported "cause of justice
and freedom." The entire post-election temper tantrum has become
ritualized to the point that it is not effective.
lasting consequence will be the real harm it did to Armenia's stature
internationally. No matter how many mea culpas or how much handwaving,
the mob cannot undo the harm to Armenia. Like the Armenian adage
goes, the mob has behaved like a fool who rolled a stone into a pit that
10 smart people cannot get out.
unintentionally, the mob carried the water well for those who want a
vulnerable Armenia at the negotiating table for Artsakh and 2015.
Irreversibly sacrificing the common good while making people believe
they are doing it for the common good. A feat worthy of Unger
Panchuni, throwing the vase on the floor and gleefully crying out "I
As Lincoln purportedly said, you can fool some of the people all of the time.